Category Archives: farmers market

Crispy Lemon Chicken

 There’s nothing better than produce from the Farmer’s Market. Everything is fresher, bigger, more flavorful. I love talking to the farmers and getting to know more about where what I’m eating is coming from. It’s also so much easier to make healthy decisions during the summer, and I usually end up stocking up on meats to try and make it through the winter, like a 21st century Pioneer (which Brendan, who would live off the land entirely if it was up to him, is going to love). Anyway, the only time I’ll get chicken thighs is from the Farmer’s Market – any other time I’ve bought them from a grocery store, they kind of skeeve me out. This was thrown together in 10 minutes, ready in 30, and while it was cooking I made cauliflower puree and Brendan whipped up this awesome garlic-y, lemon-y sauce with scallions and thyme for the chicken. It was a crispy, super flavorful, perfect Monday night dinner.

CRISPY LEMON CHICKEN (serves 2-3)
– 2 lbs. skin-on, boneless (if you can find them, if not, bone-in) chicken thighs 
– 2 lemons 
– 1 tsp. EVOO 
– Kosher Salt & pepper 
– Leftover chicken juices 
– 2 tbsp. flour (approc.) 
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
– Fresh thyme and the greens of 2 scallions 

1. Preheat the oven to 425. 

2. In a COLD cast iron skillet (I used Le Creuset), add the tsp. EVOO, circling it around the pan. 

3. Add well-seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, then turn up the heat to medium. The chicken will start to cook in its own fat and develop a ton of flavor. 

4. Walk away for about 10 minutes. After that time, flip the chicken thighs over and cook for another 4 minutes or so. When you flip them, the skin should be brown and crispy looking – this is perfect. 

5. Drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a pretty decent coating. 

6. Thinly slice one of the lemons, then scatter them into the skillet with the chicken. Squeeze half of the other lemon all over everything. 

7. Bake in the oven for approx. 10 minutes, or until chicken is 160 and the juices run clear when cut. 

8. Remove chicken and lemons from the pan. 

9. Make the sauce. Pour what’s left in the pan through a fine sieve into a small sauce pot. Mash the lemons against the side of the sieve so the lemon-ness gets into the sauce. Add the garlic, lemon juice, thyme and scallions and whisk it all together. 


10. Over medium-low heat, whisk together this mix, adding a little bit of flour at a time until it starts to come together. Keep whisking it to get the lumps out. 


11. Serve chicken with the sauce, some of the lemon and the side of cauliflower puree. Oh and make sure you have the sauce on the table, since you’re going to want it all over everything.


Shredded Red Cabbage Salad with Carrots, Scallions, Cilantro and Lime

For the record, I think coleslaw is the worst. The name is bad, the texture is weird, the mayo-y ness of it is gross, it’s just yuck. That said: this is not coleslaw. This is antioxidant-rich shredded red cabbage (from the Scranton Farmer’s Market, hurraugh!), carrots, cilantro and scallions, dressed with lime juice, rice vinegar, cumin and olive oil. It’s fantastic. We were making shredded chicken tacos with leftovers from a roasted chicken in lemon gold that we had for Sunday dinner, and decided it needed some crunch, so I threw this together and I’m so glad I did. Brendan came home, took one bite and said, “This tastes exactly like my favorite cabbage salad from my favorite Mexican restaurant in Colorado” soooo….you’re welcome, JBG. This was perfect on tacos, but honestly, I would (and did) eat this with a fork by itself. You can throw it together in 5 minutes, but make sure you let it marinate for about 30, so all the flavors come together into a little colorful shredded salad of deliciousness. 

SHREDDED RED CABBAGE SALAD WITH CARROTS, CILANTRO, SCALLIONS AND LIME (makes enough for 2 as a side or at least 6 small tacos) 
– ½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 2 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
– 2 carrots, shredded 
– 1/3 C cilantro, chopped 
– juice of 1 lime
– ½ tsp. cumin
– ½ tsp. honey
– 2 tbsp. rice vinegar 
– 4 tbsp. EVOO 
– kosher salt & pepper to taste 

1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips. 

2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cumin, honey, rice vinegar & kosher salt & pepper. Whisk together so the seasonings can blend in well with the acids. Add EVOO and give everything a good mix so it emulsifies. 

3. To the bowl with the cabbage, add the shredded carrots, chopped scallions and chopped cilantro. Mix to combine. 


4. Top the cabbage mixture with the dressing and mix it all together really well. Cover and let it sit for approx. 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while to redistribute the dressing. 

5. Serve on its own or on top of tacos for a perfect crunch and super bright flavor.


My Mom’s Minestrone Soup

I love soup. It’s hearty, healthy, and comforting. With the Farmers’ Markets packed with produce, this is a great way to use up some veggies and kind of ease your way into fall. My mom’s minestrone is at the top of my list of favorite things. It’s delicious the day of, for days afterwards, and even pureed. We’ve always added some thinly sliced provolone cheese to the soup to give it a little more richness, but that’s up to you.  This minestrone just makes me feel better every time I have it.

MINESTRONE SOUP (makes an enormous pot of soup which you can freeze – if there’s any left after a couple of days)
– 1 cabbage, sliced into long strips. I usually take out the “ribs” of the cabbage and just use the majority of the leaves.
– 4 stalks celery, cut
– 1 large vidalia onion, sliced into long strips
– 2 32 oz. containers of chicken stock (or vegetable, if you want to make this completely vegetarian)
– 2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
– 1 large can plum tomatoes, roughly cut (don’t get diced tomatoes – the plum ones work so much better)
– 1 16. oz can chopped spinach leaves
– 3 tablespoons butter


1. In a large stockpot, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. 
2. Get your veggies ready, and then add them to the pot with the melted butter. Cook down until wilted.

3. When the veggies are soft, add the chicken or veggie stock, and stir.  
4. Add tomatoes and juice from the can, spinach, and chick peas.  Stir, cover, and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 1 hour or up to 4. Add kosher salt/pepper to taste, but be careful not to overseason – the flavors will continue to come together overnight.

5. When soup has simmered enough (I usually can’t wait the 4 hours), pour yourself a bowl, shred some provolone cheese into it, and dig in. This is good today, but it will be great tomorrow. 

Mom’s minestrone soup = love



Ricotta, Apple, and Honey-stuffed Squash Blossoms

I love fall, and I love the Scranton Farmers’ Market.  The other day, I spotted these gorgeous little squash blossoms, tucked inside a little plastic bag:
  

Look at these guys!  Gorgeous. Making squash blossoms has always seemed pretty out of my league – they’re so delicate, and seemingly decadent. But I couldn’t resist.  I bought a bag, went home, and googled the trash out of “squash blossom recipes”.  The basic premise seemed simple enough – stuff them with something, then either deep fry, bake, or pan sear them.

Since I’d been alerted to the fact that it was Rosh Hashanah, and Brad and I have basically decided on combining our different religious backgrounds to include “traditions”, I thought I’d make him a little pan-seared squash blossom, stuffed with a filling of ricotta, apple, and honey (for a sweet new year). We could have eaten these for dessert instead of a side at dinner. They were savory, so pretty, and honestly, they looked like SO much more of an effort than they actually were to make. So here we go.


RICOTTA, APPLE, & HONEY-STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
* We had about 8 blossoms in total, but a normal person would probably have eaten 2, max, as a side to dinner

– Squash blossoms
– Good quality ricotta, approx. 2/3 cup
– 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg, or to taste
– 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
– 1/2 apple of your choice, microplaned (no skin)
– 2 tablespoons organic honey
– extra virgin olive oil (REAL olive oil, see this post for a heads-up on the olive oil you may have been consuming)

1. Be unable to walk by squash blossoms without thinking they’re so pretty, and then mentally talk yourself into the fact that you can cook with them.

oh, hello there!

2. Wash out the blossoms – gently. You can kind of ply them apart with the larger end of a chopstick. Just make sure any bugs, etc. are out of the blossom.


3. Gently snip out the center of the blossom, being careful not to make a hole in the bottom of the blossom, or tear the leaves.
that center part, the polleny-looking thing, has gots to go.
4. Combine the ricotta, honey, salt, nutmeg, and microplaned apple, stir to combine.  Add mixture to a plastic bag, snip a small corner off the bag. This is now your pastry bag, so you can insert the filling into the blossom more easily.

5. In a large saute pan, add a 1/4 inch of olive oil. Heat over medium high heat until hot.

6. Insert the filling into the squash blossoms. Twist the petals together so that the filling is securely enclosed.

7. Carefully add the squash blossoms to the pan, searing lightly (approx. 2 minutes). With a pair of tongs, flip the blossoms over so that all sides are cooked evenly. Some filling will fall out, but just keep turning them.

8. Serve alongside dinner (ours was Greek Yogurt Chicken and baked leeks). Have your non-practicing, but still tradition-sentimental, Jewish fiance think you’re the most thoughtful thing ever because you remembered his New Year.

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad

Incredibly, I have never been to the Scranton Farmers’ Market until this week.  Holy crow, have I been missing out. Gorgeous produce, cheeses, meats,even flowers (!), all from local farms and farmers.

There’s really nothing better, food-wise, than farmers’ markets – supporting your community while being able to find out about what you’re eating and where it came from. I picked up some corn, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and basil, and decided to use a mix of red and white quinoa as a base for this salad. We ate it that day, then took it to Frontier Days, where it was delicious even cold.  The honey-lemon vinaigrette seems odd in theory, but adds a dimension of sweetness that adds to the overall flavors – a feta creaminess, a basil crispness, etc. This is a great end-of-summer dish to use up whatever vegetables you find at the farmers’ market (or, okay, the supermarket).

SEPTEMBER QUINOA SALAD
Ingredients (serves 6-8 as a side dish)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed really well
1/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
3 ears corn, cut off the cob
2 tomatoes, diced
2 zucchini, seeds removed (just drag a spoon down the center after you cut them in half) and quartered
vidalia onion, sliced
basil, julienned
EVOO
2 garlic cloved, minced

Honey-Lemon Viniagrette:
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.5 tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, minced 
kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Make the dressing – combine all the ingredients in a small mason jar, adding the honey last so the spices can absorb into the lemon juice. Shake it up and let it sit while you make the rest of the dish.
2. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you want to make this completely vegetarian) to a boil. Rinse the quinoa really well – this is important, since the “dust” that collects on the outside of the quinoa is bitter and will ruin any dish you make if any of it remains. I have a really fine-woven strainer that I bought specifically for rinsing quinoa – otherwise it’s a total PITA trying to get the “dust” off it thoroughly.  Add quinoa to the boiling chicken broth, turn the heat down to medium low, and put a lid on it. Let cook until the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and fluffy.
3. In a different saucepan, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the corn, zucchini, and onions, and a little salt/pepper.  Let cook about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the cooked quinoa and give it all a good stir.
4. Chop up 2 tomatoes, and add to the quinoa/veggie mixture.
 
Look at these Farmers’ Market tomatoes!!  Gorgeous.

4. Add feta, stir it all up so it gets melty and combines everything together nicely.  Then julienne some basil. 

Let’s julienne some basil!  First, clean some leaves, then make a little stack of them. Roll them tightly together like a cigar, then slice thinly from the top down to get perfectly ribboned basil. It’s kind of insane how amazing chopping basil makes your kitchen smell, every time.


5. Add dressing to the salad, mix well, then top with the julienned basil. Serve and enjoy.